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Feminism Archive

Sunday

2

January 2022

0

COMMENTS

Feminist City by Leslie Kern

Written by , Posted in Feminism, Reviews

Five Stars

Best for:
Urban planners, geographers, feminists. Women who live or desire to live in a city.

In a nutshell:
Feminist Geographer Kern shares her thoughts on on how we can improve urban spaces to the meet the needs of people who aren’t just white men.

Worth quoting:
“The provisions made for ‘bubble dining domes’ while homeless people’s tents were violently dismantled illustrates the stark divide over who we believe should have access to public space.”

“It’s clear that the time has come to decentre the heterosexual, nuclear family in everything from housing design to transportation strategies, neighbourhood planning to urban zoning.”

“Makings cities seem safe for women also tends to make them less safe for other marginalized groups.”

Why I chose it:
My partner and I exchange books for Christmas; this was one of his gifts to me. He knows me well.

Review:
I grew up in the suburbs but pretty immediately made a beeline for cities once I graduated high school. I went to college in Seattle, lived in Los Angeles for a year, move to NYC for graduation school and stayed for seven years, jumped to London, moved BACK to Seattle for another eight years, and am now living in London. While I occasionally dream of living in a tiny village in Scotland, the reality is I think I’ll always need to be living in a city.

But, as author Kern points out, cities aren’t exactly made for me. Now, as a middle-class, assumed-straight, white, thin-ish, able-bodied woman, it’s made more for me that many other women, but still. Cities are built around the needs of white men, and that can make life for the woman have just as much right and claim to experiencing a free and fulfilled life in those blocks frustrating, challenging, and even dangerous.

Kern breaks her book up into six areas to explore: city of men, city of moms, city of friends, city of one, city of protest, and city of fear. The first section serves as the introduction, setting out the main premise that cities have been designed by and for (white) men. From there she discusses each area in turn, focusing on the ways cities either are not welcoming to the subjects (e.g. to moms) or, in the case of the chapter on fear, focusing on how the set-up of cities can contribute to women being unsafe, and the actions women are forced to take to counteract and prevent harm.

As I read books, I write in them (it’s why I tend to not make use of libraries – writing in books is critical to my understanding and absorbing their contents). I was flipping through to write this review, and noticed that I had starred and underlined more in the city of moms chapter, which is odd as I am not a mom. But I have a lot of friends who are moms, and I can see how so much of our cities are not set up in ways to support someone who is caring for (and often carrying) a tiny human.

I appreciate that Kern attempts to take an intersectional view of things. For example, in her chapter on city of fear, she focuses heavily on the reality that many things that some women have been pushing for to make themselves feel safer put other, more marginalized people at risk. An example of this is seeking increased police presence, or the speed with which some women are willing to call the police on people of color – white women might end up feeling safer (though probably aren’t actually any safer), but women who are not white, as well as men of color, are put at an even higher risk. In the city of protest chapter, she also acknowledges how some of her early protest experiences may have been lacking in their understanding of how her demands might negatively impact her trans sister and street-based sex workers.

What a gem of a book. It’s fairly short at under 200 pages, but still manages to pack a ton of insight, research, and examination into those pages without feeling overly academic.

Recommend to a Friend / Keep / Donate it / Toss it:
Recommend to a Friend and Keep

Saturday

4

December 2021

0

COMMENTS

The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls by Mona Eltahawy

Written by , Posted in Feminism, Reviews

Five Stars

Best for:
Women. People with women in their lives. Feminists.

In a nutshell:
Author and activist Eltahawy makes the case for the sins women should embrace as we seek to destroy the patriarch.

Worth quoting:
“I don’t want to be protected. I want to be free.”

“I refuse to be civil with someone who refuses to acknowledge my humanity fully.”

“But who indoctrinated those Republican white women? Who taught them to submit to patriarchy? Those are questions often reserved for Muslima women, but I demand we ask them now of white women – whose votes uphold the benefits of whiteness but hurt the rest of us.”

Why I chose it:
I was looking for a little motivation, and I wanted to read some quality, bad-ass writing.

Review:
What a perfect book to reach my Cannonball Read goal on: a call to action written by a queer woman of color. Fuck yeah.

Within the first ten pages of this book, Eltahawy shares two different experiences of sexual assault, and how she has changed as a person between them. The second one ends with her beating the shit out of her assailant.

Eltahawy frames this book around seven actions – sins – that she argues women are taught to stay away from but that indeed very necessary in overthrowing the patriarchy. The sins are Anger, Attention, Profanity, Ambition, Power, Violence, and Lust. In each exploration of sin, she offers examples of how that action was necessary in fighting back against the harm patriarchy inflicts on us all. Some, I have no problem embracing – anger, profanity, even ambition. Others I do have somewhat of a negative response to – attention, violence. But Eltahawy makes strong cases for each, with the constant refrain that we need to dismantle and overthrow the patriarchy, that it hurts women and girls, and being polite and asking to be respected hasn’t worked.

We have to demand it, and take the power back, by force if necessary.

I finished this with the backdrop of what’s been going on in the US this week, where a court that includes two men accused of sexual harassment / sexual assault (Thomas and Kavanaugh) along with a woman Eltahawy would definitely characterize as a foot soldier of the patriarchy (Coney Barrett, who probably wouldn’t have to do much acting to take on a Commander’s Wife role in The Handmaid’s Tale) will help to bastardize the US Constitution and take away one of the most fundamental human rights from people who can get pregnant. Its disgusting, it pisses me off, and having such an obvious marker of the patriarchy in the background as I read made this hit a little different than it might have if I’d read it at a different time.

There’s so much to unpack here, I wish I’d read this with other women, and could discuss each of the chapters separately. But it’s one of my favorite books of the year, and one I can see myself referring back to often.

Recommend to a Friend / Donate it / Toss it:
Recommend to a Friend

Saturday

13

February 2021

0

COMMENTS

Happy Galentine’s Day!

Written by , Posted in Feminism, Random

I didn’t watch Parks and Recreation when it was first on TV, but I’ve now watched the series through a few times (on my fourth viewing right now – thanks to UK Lockdown 3). Leslie Knope is one of my picks when doing one of those ‘which three TV characters describe you’ Twitter queries (Robin Scherbatsky and Monica Geller are the other two. I mean, I’m not wrong, am I?). One of my favorite parts about Leslie Knope is her love of her girlfriends, as demonstrated in her relationship with her best friend Ann Perkins. Obviously Leslie can be overbearing at times, which she eventually works on, but she clearly loves her friends. She’s a thoughtful gift-giver, and regularly celebrates how awesome her friends are.

Hence, Galentine’s Day, celebrated on February 13th every year.

I’ve been lucky to have some wonderful friends over the years. I’ve not been one to have a giant friend group of my own – I do best one on one, or in a very small group. I’ve had lots of great chats of hot chocolate and brunch (though lately those chats have been via WhatsApp and Zoom). This year, I decided to spend some time really thinking about how amazing all my Gals are.

There’s a Gal I’ve known since 1st grade, who spent many summers with me and my family up at Lake Tahoe. We watched Wayne’s World like every day one summer. We went to the local Mexican restaurant and flirted with the bus boys. We had uncountable slumber parties.

In college I didn’t end up becoming besties with my roommate, although she was lovely. But I did build three close friendships that, nearly a quarter of a century later (um, holy shit) are still going strong, despite the fact that for 11 of those years we’ve lived in separate cities. One Gal and I became friends because our boyfriends were old friends and college roommates. Neither of us are with those boys anymore, but we’re still friends. We participated in the Women’s March together and exchange texts about politics. Another Gal and her husband (an honorary Gal – he served as officiant at my wedding) took me in when I moved back to Seattle after graduate school, letting me live with them rent free for six months while I found a job and then saved up for my own place. But before that, in college, we hung out in her apartment, eating pizza and for some reason playing tag in the living room. She is the kind of thoughtful where she’ll buy Girl Scout cookies and send them halfway around the world to me based off an offhand comment about how I was bummed I couldn’t get them here. She is also the best person to take with you shopping, because she’ll definitely convince you to buy whatever you’re considering.

Another Gal called me just a couple of hours after she had her daughter (she was in Seattle, I in NYC), who is basically my niece. This Gal hosted a bridal shower for me, and was willing to throw me a bachelorette party (though I passed) even though that is not her thing. She lets me stay with her when I’m in town, and for the years I was back in Seattle, she and I had a girls night nearly every week. Sometimes it was Friday nights, when I’d join the family for dinner; sometimes it was mid-week, and we’d go grab a bite and then get ice cream or pie. We talk on the phone every week, and even if I’m a little cranky, that regular check-in brightens things. It’s not the same as a weekly meet-up in person, but it’s good enough for now.

When I went to grad school in New York, I met a Gal, and we were so close. We took trips together, hung out every weekend. Many a Saturday began with either me making my way to her place, or her picking me up, and us grabbing bagels and Diet Cokes and heading out on an adventure. She lived in Queens, and I was in Manhattan, yet even after an evening out in Manhattan I’d still get in a cab and end up back at her place on the couch. I spent a Thanksgiving with her family in Pittsburgh and a week with her parents and now-husband in Italy. She and I got sunburned in Puerto Rico, and had adventures in Barcelona.

In London, I lucked out and made friends with two amazing Gals. They are both from the US, so part of our friendship felt like home. We were in the same program so could study together, commiserate together. One is married with a little one, and we helped celebrate those milestones with her. The other is a rockstar at work, which has been awesome to see. She’s also a fantastic cook. Our WhatsApp chat can be quiet for a week or two, then lights up whenever anything big happens in the US or our own lives. I can’t wait to get together with them again when it’s safe to do so.

And then there’s the Gal I met in residence halls in London, who helped me find my job here, who receives and shares many a bitch session of texts, and has come out to see me and Austin during the lockdowns when we could still meet up with other households. And honorary Gal, who directs me to the best TV and movies. Personally I think he just sticks around because he knows I don’t always finish my lunch, which means he gets the leftovers. Our group text with Austin involves sharing absurd Tweets, knocking our respective governments, and live texting new episodes of Grand Designs. They helped me celebrate my 40th with a virtual tea.

One Gal is the wife of a dear friend, who originally thought I was his intern (we were coworkers at the time; I chose to believe it was down to my youthful good looks and not my immaturity). She’s so fun to text with, and run with! She helped me train for my first half marathon, and helped me get into my love of running, which has been so critical for my mental health. For a couple of years I was also basically the third wheel on Friday nights with her and her husband. Honestly, it’s so fun being good friends with both partners, and when I was single it was really nice to not need a date to hang out with a couple.

Another Gal and I met through our partners, and she had a spare ticket and invited me to see the musical Mama Mia (touring show, not the Meryl Streep movie), where we got to know each other better. Since then, we’ve become good friends, and we go on adventures with our partners. There was the World Cup in Vancouver in 2015, a couple of trips to New Orleans and a couple of trips to Vegas, then two summers ago we spent a load of time together traveling to the World Cup in France. They stayed with us in London, we had fun, and she was so thoughtful when I had the cough that never ended, stopping into a tiny French chemist to try to find something to help. Now she’s in Ireland, and I’m so excited for a trip to visit her.

Two Gals are married to each other, and used to be our regular double date to watch the Reign play in Seattle. I worked with one, and she made the workday so much better. We were lucky enough to also spend time with them in France for the World Cup, and I treasure those memories, especially as its unclear when we’ll get together again.

And another Gal – she is married to someone Austin went to college with. We text every few days, and even manage to talk on the phone on occasion. When we first moved out here, my partner flew her out to visit so I would have a familiar face to spend some time with, which was amazing. She keeps me honest to my values, and is a good sounding board for when I’m not entirely sure the best course of action on some things.

There are other Gals who have been in my life in the past, but for whatever reason are no longer around. We may have lost touch, or just moved in different directions. But I feel lucky for having known them, as they were amazing friends while we were in touch. And obviously this isn’t an exhaustive accounting of all the awesome women I’ve known, who have made a difference, and continue to make a difference in my life.

This Galentine’s Day, take a moment to reach out to your girlfriends and let them know how much they mean to you.

Saturday

5

December 2020

0

COMMENTS

The Guilty Feminist by Deborah Frances-White

Written by , Posted in Feminism, Reviews

Five Stars

Best for:
Everyone, but especially feminists.

In a nutshell:
Comedian Deborah Frances-White, who hosts The Guilty Feminist podcast, brings together previous writing, interviews, and new observations on feminism and the search for equality.

Worth quoting:
I got the audio book, but I still took this one down in the notes app on my phone:

“When people get angry about gender quotas setting a target for 30% women on boards or one woman on a panel show of five to seven men, we need to remind them that positive discrimination was alive and well and 100% in men’s favor for thousands of years.”

Why I chose it:
I’d not heard of the podcast until a colleague mentioned it to me last year. Then the book popped up as a suggestion so I bought it.

Review:
Ah, I loved this book. I even went and downloaded all 200+ of the back catalog of the podcast to listen to in the future. I also plan to buy the paper copy and read and review it next year, as I think there’s a lot that deserves a more closer reading.

This is a fun book, but it’s not a light book, if that makes sense. Frances-White delves into serious topics, and is open about areas she (as white, cis, middle-class woman) is not nearly as well-versed in as others who experience multiple areas of oppression. Each chapter involves an interview with someone who can provide some insight that Frances-White cannot, such as Hannah Gadsby discussing her experience with Nanette, or Leyla Hussein discussing her campaign against FGM.

Frances-White talks about ways to build confidence, using some pretty bang-on examples about why it isn’t just about standing in a power pose (though she doesn’t knock the power pose as a concept). She looks at the history of discrimination, and discussed the intersections that mean a white woman like myself doesn’t experience sexism in the way a disabled woman of color does. She also spends time on discrimination and access issues for disabled women, which I haven’t seen covered as much in other feminist books that aren’t specifically about that concern.

I found the book inspiring, both as a way to speak up more for myself but even more about how to be supportive of other fights. I didn’t agree with EVERYTHING Frances-White had to say (I think she’s probably … nicer than I am), but I found it all interesting.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the I’m a feminist but … statements that she and those she interviewed shared. For those not familiar, it’s a common aspect of the podcast. I’m a feminist but … followed by something that one would traditionally mock or shun or consider too shallow to be reconciled with being a feminist. I love it. We’re all complex. One can do a sit-in for a ban on evictions and also really enjoy wearing high heels. It’s not an either or. Every choice is NOT a feminist one just because a woman made it, but similarly, people are allowed to be complex and have different interests and ways of recharging.

Keep it / Pass to a Friend / Donate it / Toss it:
Keep it

Sunday

12

July 2020

0

COMMENTS

Hood Feminism: Notes From the Women White Feminists Forgot by Mikki Kendall

Written by , Posted in Feminism, Reviews

Five Stars

Best for:
People who consider themselves feminists.

In a nutshell:
Author Mikki Kendall shares a variety of essays covering topics and areas that very much fall under the concept of feminism but that are often left out of the discussion by mainstream white feminists.

Worth quoting:
“Girls like me seemed to be the object of the conversations and not full participants, because we were a problem to be solved, not people in our own right.”

“We have to be willing to embrace the full autonomy of people who are less privileged and understand that equity means making access to opportunity easier, not deciding what opportunities they deserve.”

“We must move away from the strategies provided by corporate feminism that teach us to lean in but not how to actually support each other.”

Why I chose it:
I follow Ms Kendall on Twitter and saw that she had written a book. Given what I’d seen in her tweets, I knew I’d want to read her work in longer form.

Review:
I am a feminist. I am interested in fighting for equal rights, opportunities, access, and freedoms for all women. What that has meant in practice, however, has often been fighting for the things that are most affecting ME, and not the things that impact women facing more serious challenges.

Ms Kendall’s argument is that white feminism has been very narrowly focused on what white, middle-class women want, and she offers up many areas where white feminism needs to get its shit together. Whether looking at racism, misogynoir, ableism, white supremacy, or examining the challenges of housing insecurity, poverty, education, or reproductive justice, Ms Kendall points out what some of the real struggles and challenges are, and how mainstream feminism has failed – and could start – to provide support and take action.

One big component of all of this is looking at who an action or policy or work centers. Take reproductive health and reproductive justice as one example. Yes, of course I want all people who can give birth to have access to abortions and birth control. But for many pro-choice activists, that’s where it ends. Whereas Ms Kendall makes the case that reproductive justice means so much more – it means access to full healthcare, and it means receiving the support that is needed once someone DOES have a child – food, housing, childcare, education, etc.

The issues Ms Kendall discusses in this book can be fixed, but it takes serious work, work that the people who are experiencing them are already doing. It’s important that the feminists she’s speaking of don’t look at the issues and decide to get all white savior-y on them; a key thing this book has reinforced is to look at who is already doing the work and see how to best support them.

Keep it / Pass to a Friend / Donate it / Toss it:
Keep it

Friday

14

September 2018

0

COMMENTS

Running With One Earbud Out

Written by , Posted in Feminism

A few months ago, a relative of mine drew my attention to what they thought was a “very informative” segment on Good Morning America (has there ever been such a thing as a “very informative” GMA segment?). This relative does what many people do: they worry about things that are outside their control, and then share information that may or may not be helpful, at which point it becomes my responsibility to worry (or not) about these things. It’s a fun cycle.

Given this, I was dreading watching it, but I chose to take a look at what ended up being a “security expert” telling women how to stay safe while running. This relative probably thought I’d be interested as my sister and I both run for exercise; she was a cross-country star in high school, and I’ve run ten half marathons and am training for one in October.

You can watch it the video here.

But let me cut to the chase: it was pretty much standard issue victim blaming wrapped up in “helpful tips” meant to keep women safe.

It was produced because a woman had just been kidnapped while running. It quotes from an unscientific poll about women feeling unsafe, and references all manner of “dangerous” situations (sorry for all the scare quotes, but there’s so much bullshit here that I need to point it out). Like having earphones in, or running alone, or having a ponytail.

(Always with the fucking ponytail.)

The voice-over says infuriating things like women need to make it difficult for “somebody” to grab us, which, come on. It’s not somebody, it’s dudes. In light of the murder of Mollie Tibbetts (warning: a video may auto-play), news outlets across the US and the world are again drawing attention to the safety issues women face when out for a run, which made me think back to this video, and I got pissed off all over again.

This fear-mongering is ridiculous. It stems from the same lessons that tell us to have our keys out in our hands, pushed through our fingers like weapons, as soon as we get out of our car or off the bus. The same lessons that tell us never to leave our drinks unattended or, even more disturbingly, tells us to wear nail polish that changes color when interacting with GHB, so we can make sure our drink hasn’t been drugged. It feeds into the same issues that any other campaign that puts the onus of not being raped on the woman: what you’re really doing is just telling them to rape that other girl. The one who goes running with ear buds in, or has a long ponytail, or didn’t put the right nail polish on before going out that night.

And that’s bullshit.

I get that tackling rape culture and toxic masculinity might be a bit much for 7AM on a Tuesday. But the thing is, it isn’t ever going to be any easier, and it’s lazy reporting to default to the sensational “don’t get kidnapped” or “don’t’ get murdered” story. Do better. Explore why men rape. Why men attack.

You know what I want to see on GMA instead? How about a video about women running that doesn’t focus on things like tight clothing and not listening to music, but instead talks about things like footfall, cross-training, and intervals. I run for exercise, for my mental health, and to be outside in the world, and it’s ridiculous to put the onus on me to be safe when doing it, when there’s no real effort to do the same with men.

Once again, women aren’t being given the tools and information to thrive; and I’m tired of it.

Me, today, eight miles into an 11-mile run.

Wednesday

18

July 2018

0

COMMENTS

Not That Bad by Roxane Gay

Written by , Posted in Feminism, Reviews

Four Stars

Content Note: This book’s subtitle is literally “Dispatches from Rape Culture.”

Best for: Those looking for some reassurance and reminders that yes, it really is that bad.

In a nutshell: Editor Roxane Gay brings together essays from 30 people (mostly women), all of which address some part of rape culture.

Worth quoting:
“The part I wanted them to understand is that these equations can implode, constricting your whole life, until one day you’re sitting in a locked steel box breathing through an airhole with a straw and wondering, Now? Now am I safe?”
“I wonder if, when it finally stops for good, if it will be too late to relax, if the muscle memory of the harassment will keep me tense on the sidewalk forever.”
“Then they will revise backward. They will take every opinion they’ve ever heard from you, every personality train, every action, and recast them in light of what you told them. This will be particularly true of your sexual behavior and your appearance.”

Why I chose it:
Roxane Gay.

Review:
I am a writer. I mean, I don’t get paid to write, but I do write. A lot. And I have this essay, still sitting in the ‘ready to pitch’ folder in Scrivener, simply called “Arm Grab,” about the time a random dude grabbed and squeezed my arm and then ran off, and what multiple encounters like that do a person over time. And before reading this book, I probably would have left it in the folder forever because it is just one in a long line of small incidents that I would have described as “not that bad.”

This is a book that can be hard to read. It isn’t 30 essays about rape, though — it’s 30 essays about the various ways that rape culture affects women and men. About street harassment, and child abuse, and date rape. Individual stories that are connected by the ways we don’t believe women, or treat them as broken, or at fault, or as liars. The ways we’re taught to be grateful that our experiences don’t matter, don’t affect the ways we navigate this world.

The essay that resonated the most with me was “Getting Home,” where author Nicole Boyce talks about how an experience led to her not feeling comfortable walking alone after dark. Like ever. And so much of what she wrote lives in my head. The fear of the sound behind me when I leave the tube station. The keys sticking out through our fingers. My confusion and then sadness when my husband and I go for a walk late in the evening and I don’t want to walk through the park because I wouldn’t do it alone, and I remember that he navigates the world without really having to make those calculations.

I’d recommend this to everyone who feels that they’re in a place where they could read it. It’s not light reading, but it wasn’t nearly as challenging a read as I thought it would be.

 

Sunday

2

July 2017

0

COMMENTS

What I’m Reading – July 2, 2017

Written by , Posted in Feminism, Politics, What I'm Reading

Horrific Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary Action

“Nevertheless, the Texas Supreme Court held on Friday that the benefits of marriage may not need to be granted to same-sex couples on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples. And the Texas court reached this frivolous conclusion in an unanimous opinion.” The Texas Supreme Court just gave a big, fat middle finger to same-sex couples (by Ian Millhiser for Think Progress)

“The all-girl team representing Afghanistan hails from Herat, a city of half a million people in the western part of the country. To interview for their visas, the girls risked a 500 mile trek cross-country to the American embassy in Kabul – the site of several recent suicide attacks and one deadly truck bomb in early June that killed at least 90 people. Despite the recent violence, the teenagers braved the trip to the country’s capital not once, but twice, hoping a second round of interviews might help secure their 7-day visas after the team was rejected on its first try. But no luck.” Denied: Afghanistan’s All-Girl Robotics Team Can’t Get Visas To The US (by Hilary Brueck for Forbes)

Speech

“The law does not share that interpretation. “The First Amendment only regulates the government,” explained Rebecca Tushnet, a professor of First Amendment law at Harvard. Does she think there is any merit in telling a person that her critique of your art is infringing on your free speech? “No.” It’s been a surprisingly effective rhetorical strategy nonetheless. Americans are fiercely proud of our culture of (nearly) unfettered expression, though often not so clear on the actual parameters of the First Amendment. To defend speech is to plant a flag on the right side of history; to defend unpopular speech is to be a real rogue, a sophisticate, the kind of guy who gets it. “Freedom of speech is such a buzzword that people can rally around,” Ms. Sarkeesian said, “and that works really well in their favor. They’re weaponizing free speech to maintain their cultural dominance.”” Save Free Speech From Trolls (by Lindy West for The New York Times)

Misogyny

“The event, called Gaming Ladies, was intended to create a safe space for female game developers, a demographic that’s woefully underrepresented in the gaming world. In response, a small, vitriolic group plotted on the forum ForoCoches (an invite-only car forum that’s basically a Spanish-language 4chan) to pretend to be transgender women in order to gain access to the conference and disrupt it.” King’s Gaming Ladies event canceled following targeted online harassment campaign (by Tim Mulkerin for Mic)

“Their presence was plainly not, as one of them later said in an “apology” video he posted to Twitter, to “give us the chance we never gave them” and to “hear us out,” but was instead to intimidate me and put me on edge. They will no doubt plead innocent and act shocked at what they characterize as the outrageousness of such allegations. This, too, is part of their strategy: gaslighting, acting in a way intended to encourage me and their other targets to doubt ourselves and to wonder if all of this isn’t just in our heads. But to anyone who examines their patterns of behavior with clear eyes, the intentions of their actions are undeniably apparent.” On VidCon, Harassment & Garbage Humans (by Anita Sarkeesian for Feminist Frequency)

Racism

“A longtime symphony fan, Ahmad knows the orchestra doesn’t permit flash photography during its performances, so she turned her flash off to snap a shot before the show started. “I was shocked,” she said. “I just very calmly said to him, ‘You cannot hit me. That’s assault. If you hit me again, I will charge you.’ At that point he called me a child and an expletive, and it was just very stunning. I won’t repeat the word.”” Professor says she was assaulted twice at the Toronto symphony and nobody stood up for her (by the CBC)

Criminal Punishment System

“Violence against People of Color (POC), gender and sexual violence against Womxn of Color (WOC) and Queer Trans People of Color (QTPOC), is endemic and systemic. It is colonial, centuries-old, poured into the very foundation of this nation. It keeps the status quo intact; upholding cis male patriarchy and white supremacy by brutalizing the marginalized into submission. Violence is the norm and it has been happening for a long time. If you’re surprised by recent tragic events–then you’re not paying attention but, more importantly, you have the privilege to not pay attention. Ask yourself, why did I not see? What in the world around allows me to not see? What in myself allows me to not see?” 9 Ways Non-Black Folks Can Show Up For Charleena Lyles (by Sharon H. Change for South Sound Emerald)

Fatphobia

“When we returned for our sophomore year, she told me the pressure had become too much. She feared for her partners’ shame, feared for more bullying from her tough love parents, feared for the jeering her thinner friends had to endure when they spent time with her. So she got weight loss surgery. I told her I was happy for her, and I was. She’d made a decision about how to engage with her own body. We’d often talked about how often our bodies were taken from us — from unsolicited diet advice to fatcalling, unwelcome comments about our orders at restaurants to bullying in the name of “concern.” Thinness was the only way she could truly end all of that.” On Weight Loss Surgery And The Unbearable Thinness Of Being (by Your Fat Friend for The Establishment)

Sexism

“However, Gail Simone, whose Wonder Woman comics from 2008 to 2010 inspired several facets of the film, noted on Twitter that her name did not appear among other thanked creators in the credits. That list was, in fact, entirely male, leaving out other influential creators, such as series editor Karen Berger. And while “The Marston Family” is listed, William Moulton Marston’s partners Elizabeth Marston and Olive Byrne—two women who played integral roles in the character’s inception—are not named, nor is Marston’s assistant and longtime Wonder Woman ghostwriter Joye Hummel Murchison. This isn’t to say men weren’t snubbed too (H.G. Peter, another of Marston’s co-creators, remains uncredited), but it’s hard not raise an eyebrow when two men who created a sword are given credit instead of any woman who worked on the world’s most famous female superhero.” ‘Wonder Woman’s’ Credits Reveal the Sexist Mistreatment of Women in Comics (by Sam Riedel for Bitch)

Something Awesome to End The Week

Sunday

21

May 2017

0

COMMENTS

What I’m Reading – May 21, 2017

Written by , Posted in Feminism, Politics, What I'm Reading

Fight Back

“An honest examination of your beliefs is a lot like cleaning house (I’m using creative imagination here because I never clean my house). You have a lot of stuff in your house and it can all seem like very necessary stuff. But if you buy every item that catches your eye and take it home with you, it will pile up, block your doorway, and cut you off from the rest of the world. But if you regularly hold each item up to the light and ask, “why do I really have this? Is it helping me? Is this meeting my needs? Did this ever meet my needs?” You Must Understand Why You Believe What You Believe — And How You Got There (by Ijeoma Oluo for The Establishment)

Horrific Executive Action and Legislation

“DeVos’ selection of these individuals, along with existing staff at the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), confirms what many suspected: that DeVos will push hard for school privatization from the beginning of her term as education secretary. This, in turn, could endanger the general success of the country’s K-12 education while creating even larger barriers to fair treatment in school for already marginalized populations.” Betsy DeVos’ Choice of New Hires Suggests She’ll Keep Her School Privatization Promises (by Alex Kotch for Rewire)

Media

“Many of Fallon’s famous friends show up to explain that Fallon just isn’t an edgy, political guy. He wants to provide silly humor for as wide an audience as possible. What we are meant to understand is that Jimmy Fallon just doesn’t pick sides, okay? No. That’s not okay. It wasn’t okay when Fallon ruffled Trump’s hair before the election, and it sure as shit isn’t okay now that Trump is president.” Sorry, Jimmy Fallon. We All Have to Pick Sides Now. (by Melissa McEwan for Shakesville)

““I used to say that I kicked down the door, but no one else came in,” Gayle Sierens told Richard Sandomir of the New York Times in 2009. “But I think that day is nearing. I really do.”
Mowins joined ESPN in 1994, and has since worked as a play-by-play announcer for NCAA Championships in basketball, softball, soccer, and volleyball, and according to ESPN Media Zone, has been the voice of the Women’s College World Series for over 20 years.” For the first time in NFL history, a woman will call play-by-play on national television (by Lindsay Gibbs for Think Progress)

Racism

“Across the South, communities began taking a critical look at many other symbols honoring the Confederacy and its icons — statues and monuments; city seals; the names of streets, parks and schools; and even official state holidays. There have been more than 100 attempts at the state and local levels to remove the symbols or add features to provide more historical context.” Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy (Southern Poverty Law Center)

Transphobia

“The possibilities, should I fly round trip from the United States to the Philippines and back again, are these: everything goes fine, but I am justifiably terrified of being publicly assaulted and degraded; I am, in fact, publicly assaulted and degraded; either of the above, plus I’m racially profiled. Traveling through a post-9/11 world while ambiguously brown has always meant a curious sort of luck when it comes to winning the random selection-and-arbitrary-detention lottery.” The ‘Trans Tax’: A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Leaving My House (by Nacasio Andres Reed for Rewire)

Misogyny

“Ironically, the Global Gag Rule isn’t associated with lower abortion rates. In some areas, it has been shown to actually increase the number of abortions, especially the number of unsafe abortions. After President George W. Bush reinstated the Gag, the U.S. cut off aid to organizations it said violated the policy in 20 developing countries, limiting women’s access not only to family planning but also to HIV prevention and treatment, maternal and child health services, and even malaria prevention and treatment.” Let’s Not Forget This Trump Policy Will Kill Women Around the World (by Lauren Rankin for Allure)

Tuesday

2

May 2017

0

COMMENTS

The Mother of All Questions by Rebecca Solnit

Written by , Posted in Feminism, Reviews

Three Stars

Best for: People who enjoy Ms. Solnit’s writing.

In a nutshell: Essays on the experiences of women.

Line that sticks with me: “The entitlement to be the one who is heard, believed, and respected has silenced so many women who may never be heard, in so many cases.”

Why I chose it: I’ve enjoyed Ms. Solnit’s writing in the past.

Review: I wish I had more energy to do this review justice. I definitely enjoyed many of the essays in this book, and as always Ms. Solnit has a way with words that any writer would envy. That said – I don’t know. This one didn’t do as much for me as her last book.

I found the second half of the book to be more engaging and interesting to read than the first half, although I did underline and make notes on quite a few passages throughout. Her words on the Isla Vista murders and on rape jokes are especially good, but I can’t really imagine that I’ll be buying this for friends or returning to it often over the years to come.